12 October, 2012
Volume 17 No. 41
 
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In This Issue

Speak Up

STEMworks

Symbolab

 


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Speak Up

http://www.speakup4schools.org/speakup2012/

This annual survey facilitated by Project Tomorrow gives individuals the opportunity to share their viewpoints about key educational issues — and to influence local, state and federal policies and programs.

Since the inaugural survey in 2004, when it went by the name NetDay, millions of students, educators, and parents have shared their views through this national online research project. This year, the survey asks students about their use of mobile tools, social networks and gaming as part of their learning in and out of the classroom.

Participants may request survey data from previous years here:

http://www.tomorrow.org/speakup/speakup_your_data.html

Download sample survey questions, flyers, and other promotional materials — now available in Spanish — to help spread the word:

http://www.tomorrow.org/speakup/promo.html


PoW taking place: math problem-solving moment of the week

"Finding the answer was a long task that required a lot of thinking. I first began brainstorming on how I could make this problem simpler. There were four main reasons that make this problem hard to figure out. First of all, ...."
- Justin, highlighted in the Geometry PoW's latest solution
http://mathforum.org/pows/solution.htm?publication=4126


STEMworks

http://changetheequation.org/improving-philanthropy/stemworks

The non-profit, non-partisan CEO-led initiative Change the Equation (CTEq) has begun assembling a database of "programs that deepen young people's learning in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM)." Search for math among STEMworks' program content areas, and further refine by grade level, geography, target discipline, target audience, design principles, and types of program such as

  • teacher professional development
  • hands-on/project-based
  • college readiness
  • informal/out of school

To recommend a successful exemplar for inclusion — subject to independent review by WestEd — visit

http://changetheequation.org/stemworks/home/index.php


Now taking place: math education conversation of the day

"Wolfram|Alpha can handle Diophantine equations pretty easily and can find integer solutions. But when the coefficients have more digits, it cannot find integer solutions. Is there another way to find integer solutions for equations like the above?"
- recoder, posted to the sci.math discussion group
http://mathforum.org/kb/thread.jspa?threadID=2408464


Symbolab

http://symbolab.com/

A math search engine that considers the contextual meaning of equations and expressions launched Monday.

Rather than return literally or visually similar matches, Symbolab seeks out semantically similar results.

For example, Symbolab's proprietary machine learning algorithms recognize that m refers to something different in each of

  • E = mc² (here, m acts as an independent variable)
  • y = mx + b (a constant)
  • $\sum _{m=1}^{\infty }\left(\frac{1}{m^2}\right)$ (an integer variable)

Similary, the semantic search interprets the query (x + y)^2 as equivalent to (a + b)(a + b) and to p^2 + 2pq + q^2; but distinguishes x2 as different from x^2 or from x_2.

In addition to an auto-completing text box, Symbolab invites queries that mix text and symbols, such as proof an + bn = cn, thanks to its pad, which toggles among

  • Greek letters
  • operators
  • differentials
  • "accents" (vectors, hats, degrees, notation for set theory and logic)

Results pages include computation and graphs, where applicable; the left margin lets you refine results into categories such as "encyclopedia," "lecture and practice," and "online books."

Symbolab also offers users of the Chrome and Firefox browsers a Quick Search extension:

http://symbolab.com/extensions

 

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